Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the study and theory of a child’s development from birth to age six. Today, there are numerous tools and resources available to parents for speech and language development in their child. Similar practices, including during playtime, are now standard in preschool and Head Start programs around the country.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of playtime with toys that promote speech, motor skills, and language development in your preschooler.
Language skills are homed in the left hemisphere of the brain, the area that also discerns math and logic. As infants, children learn to respond to sounds in their environment as well as from their parents—their first teachers. When children become toddlers, they begin to identify words, which the brain organizes into language and identifiers to correlate a word to a picture or image.
The mechanisms of human language are arranged into three subcategories: phonological (sound), lexical (words), and morpho-syntactic (grammar). Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) recommended that preschoolers maintain their native language at home in addition to English as they prepare for the instructional classroom.
Creativity at Play
Play is an integral part of a child’s speech development and toys can be an effective tool in their learning process. Although digital and electronic toys can be useful, researchers and SLPs recommend toys for preschoolers where children practice sound and words they’ve heard through creative play.
Another fun language development tool is using flashcards at home. With practice and interaction, your preschooler will learn the alphabet and be well-prepared for reading instructions as they prepare for kindergarten and first grade. SLPs also recommend choosing toys that encourage imagination and speech in your preschooler.
There are many options that don’t require actual toys. A child can create characters, imitate the noises that they hear, or identify with certain animals they like. A stuffed lion makes a roaring sound. A cat makes a meow sound. A dog barks. A bird chirps. Preschoolers are at the age where they respond to sounds and words heard in their environment.
Parents can also get creative with blocks, cardboard, Legos, and large floor puzzles. Such toys are also excellent for motor-skill development.
Puppet play is a great tool for enhancing language development and boosting self-confidence. Puppets tap into the imagination, allowing children to create a character outside of themselves and apply learned words and construct their own narrative. Puppet play is an example of how children are the creators of their own world.
At Parkland Children’s Academy, staff and instructors are committed to best practices in your preschooler’s development. Our program applies teaching methods with a focus on experiential, hands-on learning. Playtime at Parkland is essentially an extension of instructional time. What children learn in class is reinforced through creative exploration, language, and communication. Electronic and technology-based toys are minimal in the Parkland classroom. During engaged playtime, children maintain interaction with instructors and classmates, building a foundation in both their language and social skill development.